Asia Pacific Breweries (Singapore) (APBS) believes it has a good defence against the lawsuit filed by a German bank. Bayerische Hypo- und Vereinsbank (HVB) yesterday announced its intention to sue the unit of Asia Pacific Breweries for US$30m.

HVB filed the claim in an attempt to recover money extended to APBS in March last year through former finance manager Chia Teck Leng, who was sentenced to 42 years in jail earlier this year for swindling several banks of a combined S$117m between 1999 and 2003.

In a statement late yesterday (21 September), APBS said that it "will respond in Court at the appropriate time to the proceedings. APBS believes that it has a good defence and has instructed its lawyers, Davinder Singh and Hri Kumar of Drew & Napier LLC, to vigorously defend the claim."

"Instead of allowing the Court to decide the case on its merits, HVB appears anxious to make its case through the media....It is HVB that has failed to detect and prevent acts of fraud by Chia. This will become apparent at the trial," APBS said.

According to a Business Times report today, two other affected banks - Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken, which lost S$45m, and Mizuho Corporate Bank, which lost US$8m - will file claims against APBS soon.

The paper also quoted a lawyer for Sumitomo Bank, which lost S$10m, saying he is taking instructions "with a view to commencing action."